Japan! Kawagoe

Pronounced Ka-wa-go-way, this city is about 30 minutes outside of the north of Tokyo. It took us about an hour to get there by train, but it was worth it. We went to see the Kita-in Temple, forgetting that it was still New Year’s week and that a ton of other people would be there too. There was an insanely long line to get into the temple, so we side stepped it and just walked around the grounds instead. The walkways were lined with stalls selling food and good luck charms for the New Year. The food was SO good.

This is where you could turn in last year’s charms to be burned. I would have lost last year’s by now.

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On the grounds is also an area with the 500 Statues of Rakan, which is actually 540 statues which express human emotions. Each one is different, and there are 12 interspersed within that symbolize the 12 animals of the zodiac.

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The faces were completely fascinating, and slightly creepy in these close up pictures. I left out those most likely to encourage nightmares.IMG_4434

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This one is my favorite. I like to think he’s saying, “Hey! Who took my hat?”

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Year of the Dragon (that one’s mine)

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Year of the Ox (Bruce’s)

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Year of the Tiger (Zoe)

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Try as we might, we couldn’t find Year of the Rat for Tiny, and it was SO incredibly cold that we had to give up. My poor toes almost froze to death. We did find one that could pass as a rat so that she felt ok about it.

 

Guess what they sell here?

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In another section of town is a shopping area with really old buildings.

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I love this little guy. I would have absconded with him if I could have pulled it off.

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A shrine.

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A quick shot of freezing me.

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I stole this from an official website: “The “Toki no Kane (Time Bell Tower)” clock tower is a symbol of Kawagoe dating back to the beginning of the Edo Period. It is said that Sakai Tadakatsu, a Kawagoe feudal lord, was the first to build such a clock tower approximately 400 years ago. It burned down numerous times but has been rebuilt each time. The current clock tower is the 4th generation and was rebuilt in 1893 after the Kawagoe Great Fire. Reconstruction was carried out by local merchants who put aside rebuilding their own stores in order to quickly reconstruct the clock tower.”

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I also would have taken this fine fellow, but I don’t think he’d fit in the luggage.

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Then we visited Kashiya Yokocho, or penny candy alley. It’s just what it sounds like. Except the candy costs more than a penny.

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We got chocolate pancake fish.

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I have no idea what all these stickers are. I’m assuming they’re not vandalism, that would be bad juju.

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I love the texture on this building.

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All in all, it was a great trip. I’d love to go back out to actually see the temple, but we go home in 9 days!

2 thoughts on “Japan! Kawagoe

  1. I’m a year of the Rabbit. My wife, just like Tiny is from the year of the Rat.
    Also, my wife brought home some pancake sweets just last month from a place in Redwood City, however, they were not as big as the one in your photo. She got the ones filled with Nutella.

    As for the cold, hang in there poor toes. I can see it’s bright and shiny with sunshine, but I can also tell it’s cold because of the way people are dressed.

    Are the women *still* mostly wearing skirts with leggings and *fat socks*?

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